Many people believe they have an amazing capacity to multitask. It’s become a badge of honor in modern society to tell people how many things you are juggling at once.
Yet, multitasking is largely a myth. What’s more, it can be a dangerous one when drivers believe it.
Your brain can only do one thing at a time
That’s what the science says. While you might be able to turn the steering wheel, press the brake and talk to your passenger simultaneously, your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.
At some point, your mind leaves the conversation and works out that it needs to tell your arms to turn the wheel and your feet to hit the brakes. It might happen so fast that it seems like you are doing everything at once, but your brain is processing things one at a time. That’s why you’ll often notice drivers stop mid-sentence when they come up to a difficult section of the road, such as an intersection.
If you want proof, find someone playing a computer driving game and start asking them complicated math questions.
Drivers try to multitask all the time
Anytime you see a driver using their phone, talking to passengers or singing along to a track, you know they are not focused on driving. It’s not always visible, either – many drivers stare straight ahead but are lost in thought.
A driver whose mind is elsewhere cannot drive as well as they should. If they injure you in a crash, seek legal help to hold them responsible.